I took some pictures of our Village day. Our factory is just on the edge of this field, or common (http://cyberium.co.uk/parkhistory/commonland.html) (land) as it's known by law. The rights of people to use common land dates back to 1066. To quote from the above link "Let's not forget how important the concept of common land is
What are the good pictures, but where are you, dear Lao Alan?
If you do visit the UK, I strongly recommend you explore the National Trust's web site (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/) and plan if possible to visit some of their properties. The National Trust's motto is 'for ever, for everyone'. Should I say visit our properties because the NT is a non-governmental organisation which preserves and maintains hundreds of beautiful old houses and gardens for the nation. There are many things to do and see (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-great_days_out/w-family_days_out/w-days_out-family_fun-2.htm). How did these wonderful places fall into the hands of the NT? Well, typically heating and running repairs to these old properties are hugely expensive. Over the years the families that lived in them perhaps for generations simply could not afford to maintain them, and they started to fall into disrepair. And the changes in society with a large middle class and proportionately fewer rich land owners means these houses are far too big for modern families - and ruinously expensive to live in. Of course, there are exceptions which are still lived in and privately owned. But we, the public are not allowed to roam around in them! At NT properties, we are.
Often, following years of neglect after the (usually elderly) owner's death, the Estate Duty tax bill could be very large indeed, being based on the theoretical value of the land. So, a scheme was devised about one hundred years ago that if the owner or his heirs could not pay the taxes due he would hand-over all or part of the property to the NT in payment of the taxes. And the NT would open it to the public for a small admission charge, and maintain and improve the property as a 'time capsule' of how people lived at the time they took over the property. We are members of the NT and very much enjoy looking around these wonderful old places, frozen just as they were decades or hundreds of years ago.
Often, there are days when country fairs are run in the grounds. You can buy plants and bits and pieces for your own garden, sample local wines and cheeses and study old-fashioned traditional skills, such as woodworking and falconry. Again, keeping the past alive.
This summer we've been out and about.Here are some of the videos I've made. Hope that you enjoy this slice of old England! All the people shown here do this as a hobby just to keep the old traditions alive, and often do it to raise money for charity.
Video 1: The Morris folk dancers at Parham Place, Southern England, July 2008. This is a family home (and not part of the NT) and partially open to the public.
Yes, we British also find it amusing that grown men attach bells to their legs and flap around with white cloths but at least Morris dancers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_dancers) are out in the air exercising and have been doing it for about 500 years! They provide their own music and have a repertoire of hundreds of these traditional dances which have to be performed in exactly the right way.
Link to Video : The Morris dancers. (http://www.screencast.com/t/7iNo0Rwa) (MP4 - 30 seconds - await download, this is about 12MB)
Video 2: The skill and art of making a Sussex trug basket.
For hundreds of years in this part of England the Sussex trug basket (http://www.parterredesign.co.uk/acatalog/Sussex_Trugs.html)has been made from steamed chestnut (the frame) and cricket-bat willow, both materials readily available hereabouts. A trug basket is typically used for gathering fruit perhaps in an orchard, although the mini one I've bought from its maker here in this video I'm going to use in my study. Just like a Harbeth speaker, looked after, a trug basket can be passed from one generation to another.
Link to video 2: Making a trug basket (http://www.screencast.com/t/jpxBAxgngq) (MP4 - 2 mins. - await download, this is a large 28MB file, may take several minutes to download)
Video 3: The making of a besom broom
Traditionally the besom broom (http://www.parterredesign.co.uk/acatalog/Sussex_Trugs.html) is made from an ash handle and birch twigs, bound together by hand.
Link to video 3: The old broom maker (http://www.screencast.com/t/Oi29mQNKz9J) (MP4 - 30 seconds - await download, this is about 12MB)
Video 4: Wood turning on a foot operated lathe (1)
Before the invention of the steam driven lathe, this was the only way to accurately make round wooden objects such as chair legs, and tool handles.
Link to video 4: The old wood turner -1 (http://www.screencast.com/t/J7ykCLWaYn) (MP4 - 30 seconds - await download, this is about 10MB)
Video 5: Wood turning on a foot operated lathe (2)
Turning on a different lathe. Here the turner comments that to make a really fine cut the wood should be slightly moist, as this lubricates the blade. The wood he's using is too dry, and the chisel tears the fibres apart leaving a rough finish. He comments that he can judge from the sound of the cut how dry the wood is. Before I started filming, he was having difficulty squeezing the two ends of the lathe onto the wood. Unless the wood is held rigidly, there is a danger that the object will not be perfectly round.
Link to video 5: The wood turner -2 (http://www.screencast.com/t/jWIVz6EfrPP) (MP4 - 45 seconds - await download, this is about 13MB)
Picture of walking stick handle being carved by hand attached.
I wish I could visit the UK! I like British literature and history very much, of course I would see those old properties, even want to see the Egdon Heath if that exists.
17-07-2008, 08:56 PM
i would like to go to see that Hadrian's wall region.
Alan, you been there?
Fortunately, as Harbeth staff live near the factory, we've managed to get in to work, but elsewhere has not been so lucky .... BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7864395.stm)
God bless UK, God bless England!